Open Access Open Badges Research article

Inhibition of cerebrovascular raf activation attenuates cerebral blood flow and prevents upregulation of contractile receptors after subarachnoid hemorrhage

Saema Ansar12*, Aida Maddahi1 and Lars Edvinsson12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Experimental Vascular Research, Lund University, Sweden

2 Department of Clinical Experimental Research, Research Park Glostrup, Copenhagen University, Glostrup, Denmark

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BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12:107  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-107

Published: 27 October 2011



Late cerebral ischemia carries high morbidity and mortality after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) due to reduced cerebral blood flow (CBF) and the subsequent cerebral ischemia which is associated with upregulation of contractile receptors in the vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) via activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 signal pathway. We hypothesize that SAH initiates cerebrovascular ERK1/2 activation, resulting in receptor upregulation. The raf inhibitor will inhibit the molecular events upstream ERK1/2 and may provide a therapeutic window for treatment of cerebral ischemia after SAH.


Here we demonstrate that SAH increases the phosphorylation level of ERK1/2 in cerebral vessels and reduces the neurology score in rats in additional with the CBF measured by an autoradiographic method. The intracisternal administration of SB-386023-b, a specific inhibitor of raf, given 6 h after SAH, aborts the receptor changes and protects the brain from the development of late cerebral ischemia at 48 h. This is accompanied by reduced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in cerebrovascular SMC. SAH per se enhances contractile responses to endothelin-1 (ET-1), 5-carboxamidotryptamine (5-CT) and angiotensin II (Ang II), upregulates ETB, 5-HT1B and AT1 receptor mRNA and protein levels. Treatment with SB-386023-b given as late as at 6 h but not at 12 h after the SAH significantly decreased the receptor upregulation, the reduction in CBF and the neurology score.


These results provide evidence for a role of the ERK1/2 pathway in regulation of expression of cerebrovascular SMC receptors. It is suggested that raf inhibition may reduce late cerebral ischemia after SAH and provides a realistic time window for therapy.